Sunday, January 30, 2011

Making Boxer Briefs for the Man - a Tutorial

My dear hubby has some very sad undies.  For our Week #4 challenge I decided to deconstruct an existing pair and create some new boxer briefs for him.  Please bear with me, since this is my first tutorial.

An old pair of undies to use as a pattern
Jersey knit - this is a great time to upcycle old jersey sheets or even a t-shirt
Wide Elastic
Paper for pattern tracing
The usual sewing supplies

Start with a pair of underwear that you are willing to sacrifice to the sewing gods.  Make sure they are a pair that fit well. I used a pair of boxers that are a very simple construction - only two pieces plus elastic.

 Grab your scissors and cut those suckers up!  Cut the pieces apart at the seam lines and cut off the elastic at the top. 

Take your pieces over to your ironing board and press them so they are nice and flat.  Now lay them on top of your paper.  I like to use Freezer Paper.  It is nice and thick and comes on a nice big roll.  

I made the cod piece a solid piece instead of having an opening.  The body piece is folded in half, so make sure to mark that edge as a fold line for future reference.   

Trace around both pieces, also make sure to mark the top on the cod piece
Now you have to add a seam allowance.  How much you add is really a personal preference.  I like use about a 1/2 inch allowance.  

At the bottom of the body piece add a little extra if you are planning on hemming them.  The nice thing about jersey is that you don't actually need to hem it because the fabric won't unravel. 
 At the top of both the body and the cod piece you need to add extra length to allow for the elastic.  I was using some really wide elastic that I rescued from some other boxers (not the stretched out wonky elastic) so I laid the elastic on top of the patterns to make sure I was adding enough.
Time to cut your pieces out!  You need to cut one of each piece, with the body being cut on the fold. Make sure the maximum stretch of the fabric is across the body.

I used an old jersey sheet that had shrunk funny and didn't fit our bed anymore.  I place a pin in the top of the cod piece so I know which side it up.
Here are what you should have once your pieces are cut out.
Match one side of the cod piece together at the top of one curved side of the body piece, right side together.  I only pin the at the top and then align as I sew. Sorry this is so hard to see in the photo. I really should have used a contrasting color for the cod piece.
 Serge (or sew) the pieces together.  If you are going to sew on a regular machine, I would suggest using a stretch stitch.  Repeat for the other side.
 Here is what you should end up with.  Press the seams away from the cod piece toward the body.
 Turn them right side out and stitch the serged seams down using a long stitch or a stretch stitch.  This will help the seams lay flat to prevent them from irritating the skin.  It will also reinforce the stitching.
 Turn wrong side out again and align the curved bottom front and back together.  Serge or stitch together.

Time for the waistband.

I measured the elastic on a pair of boxers that were not all stretched out.  You could also measure our man's waist.  Sew the elastic into a loop.  Fold the elastic in half and mark with pins, then fold in half the other way so you can mark the elastic into 4ths.  Do the same for the fabric and pin together with the elastic on the wrong side.
 Sew together, stretching the elastic as you go.
Fold the elastic over again to the inside and stitch it down.  Once again stretching as you go.  I ran a second stitching line at the top of the elastic. 

At this point you could hem them. I chose not to.  Hubby wore his new purple undies last night and said the fit great and he is ready for more!

Good luck on your foray into underwear making! 
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